ABOVE PHOTO: Traders gather around a post as Twitter shares resume trading on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, on Oct. 4, 2022. Elon Musk’s lawyers said Thursday, Oct. 6, that Twitter is refusing to accept the Tesla billionaire’s renewed $44 billion bid for the social media company and are asking a Delaware court to halt an upcoming trial. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
By Matt O’brien
Elon Musk is telling Twitter advertisers he is buying the platform to “help humanity” and doesn’t want it to become a “free-for-all hellscape” where anything can be said with no consequences.The message to advertisers posted Thursday on Twitter came a day before Musk’s deadline for closing his $44 billion deal to buy the social-media company and take it private.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk wrote, in an unusually-long message for the billionaire Tesla CEO who typically projects his thoughts in one-line tweets. He continued: “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”
The message reflects concerns among advertisers — Twitter’s chief source of revenue — that Musk’s plans to promote free speech by cutting back on moderating content will open the floodgates to more online toxicity and drive away users.
Musk told advertisers Thursday he wants Twitter to be “the most respected advertising platform in the world.” He said it should be “warm and welcoming to all” and enable users to choose the experience they want to have.
“I didn’t do it to make money,” he said of the pending acquisition. “I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love. And I do so with humility, recognizing that failure in pursuing this goal, despite our best efforts, is a very real possibility.”
Friday’s deadline to close the deal was ordered by the Delaware Chancery Court in early October. It is the latest step in an epic battle during which Musk signed an April deal to acquire Twitter, then tried to back out of it, leading Twitter to sue the Tesla CEO to force him to conclude the deal. If the two sides don’t meet the Friday deadline, the next step could be a November trial that would likely lead to a judge forcing Musk to complete the deal.
But Musk has been signaling that the deal is going through by Friday, paying a visit to Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters Wednesday and changing his Twitter profile to “Chief Twit.”
And overnight the New York Stock Exchange notified investors that it will suspend trading in shares of Twitter before the opening bell Friday in anticipation of the company going private under Musk.